How I got into Dog Obedience School
Graduation exercises were held at the ARC building in Marlinton this past Thursday night for the first students of the Beginner Dog Obedience Class.
Much laughter and many jokes were shared during our instructional time together.
We wondered who would be the valedictorian. Attendee Sunny Given told the group that her dog, Maxine, was prepared to give the Bark-alaureate and Kyna Mooreﾒs Great Pyrenees, Katie, shook hands with the instructor after receiving her diploma.
A year ago, I had no need of an obedience class, but that all changed one day last June when my nephew, Tanner Graham, appeared in the hayfield holding a white puff of fur.
ﾓAunt Jaynell, you need this puppy,ﾔ Tanner said.
ﾓNo, I donﾒt think so,ﾔ I responded.
This was the last of a litter of nine puppies that Ron Fletcher had brought that day to the wool pool at the stockyards.
Fletcher, who accompanied Tanner on this quest offered that this last puppy had ﾓalways been his favorite.ﾔ
Based on that endorsement and Tannerﾒs promise of ﾓshared custody,ﾔ I agreed to give the little guy a home.
The next day I took the puppy to The Pocahontas Times office where my colleagues searched the internet to find out what the future might hold for life with a Great Pyrenees, Anatolian Shepherd and Mirotic Sheepdog mix.
When the research was complete, all I could say was ﾓRut-Roh, he is going to be trouble!ﾔ
And so he was named Rut-Roh.
But, as it turned out, he has been very little trouble, however he was, early on, quite a collector.
He collected small children by dragging them by the pants leg and he has a extensive accumulation of cat food bowls, compliments of my brother and sister-in-law, Bill and Annette Graham.
Rut-Roh would go to visit Rosie, the Grahamﾒs Collie, Basset Hound mix, and he would return with a bowl as a memento.
For several months I accosted and annoyed everyone who looked like they knew anything about training a dog.
ﾓHe is so smart, it would be a shame for him to be limited to what little bit I know,ﾔ was the line I repeated to anyone who would listen.
Finally, Arol Wulfing, of Zendik Farms, visited Kelly Horgan and Kayla Dohmen, Canine Training and Behavior Specialists, at Dukeﾒs Pets in Lewisburg. Contacted by Lauren Bennett, of Pocahontas County Parks and Recreation, the two agreed to teach a six-week class in Marlinton.
At our first meeting, which we attended dogless, each person was to tell what kind of dog they had and what problems they hoped to overcome.
I proudly offered that the only problem I had with Rut-Roh was that he barked at people who came to the Greenbrier River Trail at Buckeye.
As all mothers know, you should never brag about your children because it will come back to bite you!
And so it did at our first training session.
New to the idea of ﾓriding the bus,ﾔ we arrived at the ARC building and Rut-Roh promptly planted himself under the vehicle next to mine.
With a 10-pound dog, this would not have been a problem. With a 75-pound dog, it was strictly his decision as to whether he would come out or not.
Once out from his hiding place, we entered the building where he plastered himself against the door and refused to move. As the other dogs trotted on-leash, Rut-Roh sat up against the door and drew his claws downward, like fingernails on a chalkboard.
The trainer said he was ﾓavoiding.ﾔ
ﾓHe is embarrassing me,ﾔ I said.
But, thankfully, that was short-lived and he was soon up and about with the rest of the class.
The first day of school can be traumatic, but the secret is to not give up.
Horgan and Dohmen proved to be very capable instructors and each week the dogs and owners became more relaxed and more confident in what could be accomplished.
The first lesson dealt with teaching your dog to walk beside you on a loose leash.
Now, when I see a dog pulling on the leash and dragging its owner, I want to stop and tell them that there is a quick and easy remedy for that.
New commands and techniques were added each week - how to communicate, sit, sit and stay, lie down and heel.
Although we entered the first class unsure and apprehensive about how our dogs would behave, we left the last day confident and pretty much in control.
Our dogs want to please us.ﾠ It is up to us to spend time with them and learn how to tap into theirﾠ potential.
Rut-Roh was a good dog going into the class, he is a great dog coming out and, living on a farm,ﾠ if he dislikes groundhogs, he will be an excellent dog.